Objective: To review the long-term results in patients treated with either total or partial prostate-sparing cystectomy, focusing on erectile function (EF), as en-bloc radical cystectomy (RC) with or without urethrectomy has been the method of choice for managing invasive bladder carcinoma, but has inherent risks of subsequent urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, with a marked effect on quality of life, especially in younger patients.
Patients and methods: Between 2003 and 2005 we assessed 21 men (mean age 56 years) who had either a prostate apex-sparing cystectomy (PASC, 15) or total prostate-sparing cystectomy (TPSC, six). The mean follow-up was 30 months for PASC and 24 months for TPSC. The evaluation before surgery included standard bladder cancer staging, prostate specific antigen level, a digital rectal examination and a complete medical history, with attention to self-reported EF before surgery and the EF domain of the International Index of EF (IIEF) after surgery.
Results: The EF domain score was 20 after PASC and 30 after TPSC; this correlates with mild to moderate ED in the PASC group vs normal erectile function in the TPSC group. After transurethral resection of the bladder tumours (TURBT) 10 of 14 in the PASC group were T1 or T2a, and in the TPSC group, five of six were T2a and one patient was T2b. From the cystectomy specimen, in the PASC group eight were understaged compared with the TURBT specimen (T2b/T4a vs T1/T2a), while in the TPSC group there was understaging two (T3a vs T2a/T2b); this was significantly different (P < 0.05). There was recurrence of urothelial carcinoma in one of 15 and one of six after PASC and TPSC, respectively.
Conclusion: The EF domain score after PASC was 10 points lower than after TPSC, representing a 30% increase in EF by preserving the entire prostate. We conclude that in patients with invasive bladder cancer, EF can be significantly preserved by prostate-sparing cystectomy. If adequate selection criteria are applied, EF can be preserved without compromising cancer control.